Im new to the forum, and welding as well, and have a few questions in regards to picking out a welding machine.
First, let me begin by saying that Im going to be taking an introductory welding class at a local vocational college at the start of their next term, and have been reading up on welding safety, processes, tools, and pretty much anything I can get my hands on. However, Id like to make a decision and purchase a welder before I begin the class so that I can get some practice in over the summer, as im a regular college student as well and wont have as much time to devote to it come the fall.
In one of the books that I have been reading, the Lincoln Electric AC 225 tombstone style buzz box comes up quite a lot. The author says that it will last a lifetime, costs about 300 bucks, and can weld up to the scale of building trailers and dirt track cars. Sounds pretty good to me.
I understand that stick welding may not be the easiest first step in welding, and that many people suggest purchasing a used welder first, but im in the market for a new welder that can tackle as many of the potential tasks that im going to throw at it as possible.
Im primarily going to be welding things like heavy duty skid plates for my truck, thick metal brackets, mounts, maybe even a roll cage down the road for the mustang im building, etc. However, (and i know its greatly frowned upon) Id also like to have the capability to take on the few odd aluminum jobs that i will undoubtedly encounter (once ive practiced a good bit, of course), so I started looking into AC/DC welders (as i understand it, I need a DC+ capable welder to weld aluminum right?).
I read almost all of Rick V's posts on stick welding aluminum, and it shows that he uses 120 amps DC+ for most of his work, so I started looking for something that could put out 120 DC+ and came across this:
Its a Lincoln Electric AC/DC 225/125 230 Volt stick welder (#k1297), and it seems to me that its essentially just an upgraded AC 225 buzz box like the author of the book I am reading so highly regards. So, my question is, would this be a good fit since it appears to be able to handle all of the tasks as an AC 225, with the added benefit of being able to pump out DC(+/-)?
Also, what is the difference between the previously linked AC/DC 225/125 and this one that costs $135 more? Just the cost?
Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. (And like I said, I know stick welding aluminum is less than desirable to most, but just having then capability if need be in a real pinch makes a whole lot of difference to me)